Oil Paintings are the Project's Principal Focus
The principal focus of the project is oil paintings. However, tempera, acrylic and mixed media, where one of these media is the main constituent, are also included. Paintings on all forms of support (e.g. canvas, panel etc.) are included as long as the support is portable.
The National Collection of Oil Paintings
The national collection of oil paintings has been defined to include works owned by the state and local authorities together with those held in charitable trusts for the benefit of the public. Generally, the PCF’s approach has been to be inclusive in order that the database of paintings is as useful as possible. In total the PCF has catalogued over 210,000 oil paintings in the national collection. These are the work of approaching 40,000 artists.
Whilst local authority and national museum collections make up the majority of the institutions represented, paintings held by universities, hospitals, town halls, local libraries and even a lighthouse are included in the project. The project also includes collections held by national organisations such the National Trust, English Heritage, the Government Art Collection and Arts Council England. The largest collection in the project will be the National Trust with 12,500 works. At the other end of the scale many of the institutions hold just a single picture.
Criteria for Inclusion
As long as paintings meet the requirements above, all paintings are included irrespective of their condition and perceived quality. However, painting reproductions can only be included with the agreement of the participating collections and, where appropriate, the relevant copyright owner. Paintings which have been lent to other institutions, whether for short-term exhibition or long-term loan, are listed under the owner collection. In addition, paintings on long-term loan are also included under the borrowing institution when they are likely to remain there for at least another five years from the date of publication of this catalogue.